Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Promoting Yourself

By YA fantasy author Andrea Buginsky

As an author, I’m learning that a big part of the job is promoting myself. In the age of technology we are in, promotion can be done online, from the comfort of your home. Although I’m still an apprentice in the subject, I am slowly learning some tips and tricks to using the Internet to promote myself and my book. Here are some great avenues open to you on the Internet. The best part about using them is you can do it in your PJs.

Facebook: It’s not just for kids anymore. Facebook allows you to set up an author profile separate from your personal profile. You can use it strictly to promote yourself and your works, and create a fan base. You can post links to your books, blogs, articles, and anything else you want to promote.

Twitter: If you thought tweeting was just for birds, guess again! I once thought this app was for a bunch of teenagers to hang out on and keep each other up to date on what they’re doing. I was wrong. It’s a great place to update your followers on what you’re working on, when your new book is published, when you have an article published, and where you’ll be featured, whether it’s a guest blog post, interview, book tour, reading, or any other updates you want to share.

Web Page: You don’t have to have a degree in computer science to create your own author website. You don’t even have to budget for it. There are so many different places that offer free websites and blogs to anyone who wants to sign up for one. Check out Blogspot, Webs.com, or Google Sites to get started.

Blog: A blog is a great way to keep your fans up-to-date on what you’re doing. Think about your favorite author: aren’t you curious about what they’re doing during their writing and promoting time? Your fans feel that way about you! By keeping a blog and updating it on a regular basis, you can satisfy your fans’ curiosity about what you’re currently working on, what’s coming available soon, and where they can come meet you. Blogspot is a great site to create your blog on. If you use Webs.com to create your author web page, you can use the blog there too, and keep everything together on one site.

All of these great tools are at your dispense for free. Take some time to explore the Internet for these and more, and start promoting yourself today!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of "The Chosen," available from Solstice Publishing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can a Teenaged Girl Be a Hero?

I'm going to piggy-back off Nick's posting from last week about What make a hero? I recently came across this listing of Hero Traits:
but sympathetic
emotionally remote
hidden trustworthiness

I would add a couple of items, such as:
sweet natured
Renaissance Man
manly but not afraid to cry, or hug
hidden violence-comes out as protection when needed
intelligent but not in-your-face
clever, able to problem-solve

But heroes can be further subdivided into two categories: Alpha and Beta

Alpha Hero Traits
Mr. Dangerous
Mr. Wounded
can't admit love
damaged (physically or emotionally)

Beta Hero Traits
Mr. Nice Guy
Mr. Patience
heals the heroine

Just as there are categories of Heroes, there are types of Heroines as well: Traditional and Modern

Traditional (usually in Historical Fiction)
lacks power; helpless
financially dependent
expected to be subservient
expected to marry whomever told

not passive
passionate about something
self sufficient
courageous; brazen
smart and shows it

Thanks to http://writesbymoonlight.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/hero-personality-traits/ for posting these lists.

With these traits in mind, the question for Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction becomes: Can a teenager be a Hero and Heroine? Can a teen be self-sufficient, selfless, powerful, courageous, passionate. How many kids have you known who fit most if not all of these traits? I personally know many. So my answer to this question is: Without a doubt! There are many teens who would make BETTER heroes/heroines than some adults I know. And as a writer, it's especially fun to create such a teen who is more bad-ass than the adults around her.

I would like to announce, in line with that previous statement, the release of my latest book. Zarena, Book 1 of the Stardust Warriors MG series came out in July and is available wherever eBooks are sold.

Here's a blurb about the book and the links to finding it.

When 14-year old Zarena wakes in someone else’s bed and hears voices in her head, she’s understandably terrified. So imagine her reaction when she steps out of the sleeping quarters into a magnificent Great Hall filled with priceless carvings, beautiful frescoes, and translucent-skinned beings in pastel robes. It doesn’t take long for her to find out she has somehow traveled overnight across the Megaverse to the home of a holy order called the Conscientia. Here she is to train to fulfill her destiny. Her mentor tells her about the Prophecy of Solsyl and her role as leader of the Vigorios, children demon slayers. But no one knows that her first taste of evil is only one new friendship away.

Here's an excerpt to whet your whistle:

Suddenly, Zarena noticed they were no longer alone in the huge hall. People were coming and going.  Everyone dressed similarly in variously colored plain robes over loose-fitting pants and tunics or full-length tunic dresses. She wondered if the color designated a job or power level.
A statuesque woman, her green robe and yellow tunic dress flowing behind her like angel wings, approached them.  Zarena glanced down at her stained T-shirt and bare feet. They all looked so elegant. She wished she hadn’t stepped out of the room so abruptly and quelled the urge to dash back inside. She didn’t want to be rude to these lovely people who obviously meant her no harm. Her cheeks flamed with embarrassment, but she managed a tight smile. 
 “Hello, Zarena,” the stately thin woman greeted with a wide toothy smile. “I’m glad to see you out and about so early.” The white-haired woman’s friendly gray eyes wandered across Zarena’s T-shirt, and she leaned close to whisper, “I believe I have a robe and gown that will fit you just fine. You’re about my height.”
She gently took Zarena’s hand in hers and led her back into the room. It dawned on Zarena this was the woman’s bed chamber.
“I’m so sorry to have taken your bed last night,” Zarena stammered, and looked down at the floor. Why did she feet obliged to these people? They had kidnapped her from her bed in the middle of the night, for Laud’s sake! But she did feel grateful. Why?
“Think nothing of it, my dear. You had to finish the night somewhere. My name’s Divinor. I’m the one who brought you here, so it was only natural you stay in my room.” As she spoke, Divinor opened the door to a tiny armoire located in the corner of the very small room.
Zarena took the occasion to further study the room. Poorly furnished, a narrow bed was centered lengthwise on one wall with a small nightstand at head and foot. Centered on the wall directly opposite stood a narrow desk and chair. The small armoire sat to the right of the desk, barely large enough to hold five or six outfits and a coat. It was beside a small door leading into another room, which Zarena guessed to be a bathroom.
She opened her mouth to ask, when Divinor motioned toward the door and said, “Of course, dear, right through that door. I’ll have a robe and gown on the bed for you when you come out. I do hope the sandals will fit.” Divinor stooped to the bottom of the armoire and lifted out a pair of simple, brown leather sandals.
Before she pulled the bathroom door closed, Zarena noticed the only comfortable piece of furniture in the small bedroom. Squatting on the other side of the desk, in the corner behind the door to enter the room, an overstuffed white armchair, with a tall floor lamp beside it and a green blanket throw draped over one of the arms, looked inviting—as if it were meant for someone to curl up in and read, listen to music, or just think.
The bathroom was just as simple as the bedroom. The furnishings provided just enough to live comfortably without luxury. They must be religious people, maybe monks or something like that. Are there women monks? She wasn’t sure.

Sound like a teen you would trust as a Heroine? I would. Read more about her and the Stardust Warriors series at Tween Word Quest. If you're sold already, buy Zarena for Kindle at:


MuseItUp Bookstore

Series Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/vigorio

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's in a Hero?

Hey all!!
I just finished my 4th novel, The Chronicles of Nuclear Fist, 1-Darksoul and sent it off for some critiquing. My son inspired me to write it. The idea came rather quickly, but it put into perspective the vast potential of creative backgrounds heroes are created in.
In my first novel, Relics of Nanthara: Secrets Revealed, the hero is a sheltered adolescent cleric oblivious to how the real world is. Gullible, somewhat timid, and lacks street savvy. But in the end, he gains boldness, courage, and a real world intelligence seasoned by his experiences. On the other hand, we have Malachi, my teen superhero in Darksoul. The youth comes from a very wealthy Christian background which goes sour due to his parents. His abilities come from a freak accident.
Okay, fine. How are these two guys similar? How do they relate to other characters? Do heroes have to have unique powers and abilities? Nope. Can they be quirky, goofy, and introverted? Yep. A hero does not have to perform flawless acrobatic skills in order to make a book exciting. You can have a timid teenage babysitter fight off an intruder and jump out a window with child to save both of them. A hero does not have to look like Conan the Barbarian, either. Courtar, my nerdy cleric, is a thin built adolescent with little combat skill, less street smarts, but he has desire and ambition. If he puts his mind to it, he's doing it.
Can heroes be more than one? Absolutely. Folks like cool characters to follow. And creating heroes that may have conflict creates an even juicier plot. Malachi starts off alone, but soon gains the friendship of some street kids...and then the fun begins. Courtar starts off alone, but soon gains a following of like-minded individuals which help form 'the chosen ones', those prophesied to destroy evil.
Can heroes be super? Yep. They can range from an elderly man all the way to the unique creation of the Fantastic 4. The neat thing about writing...do what you want! Experiment, create, shape, breakdown, and redo. Like a clump of clay, your hero doesn't have any form until you work on it. And don't be afraid to conjure up something odd. You never know how it will turn out.
Take care,
Nick G. Giannaras